Humility, The Divine Reset Button

“The two persons whom Jesus praised most for their faith in His earthly ministry were two people who thought themselves totally unworthy.”

Derek Prince

In his discussion, that I link below, Derek Prince states that “faith and pride are incompatible.” Watch the 1 minute and 20 second clip before you continue reading.

It’s amazing to me to consider this thought, because it’s profoundly relevant. There are times when our faith is up, and we’re walking on sunshine, and there are times when our faith is stagnant and we feel like we’re just existing. I believe the latter is the cause of a lack of humility.

After things like: starting this website, and doing various projects that are internally fulfilling, I felt the brakes slowly being applied, and my faith coming to a stop.

The light was red, and I waited, and waited, until that gnawing feeling when you begin to wonder if the light is broken, and if it’ll ever turn green again. Then, when I found myself stagnant and not knowing what to do, a thought came to my mind about the one thing that’s like coming up for air; to humble myself. Interestingly, a day later I listened to this discussion, and I knew it was from God.

The truth is, we don’t have to have a blatant pride and arrogance about ourselves to reap the negative effects of pride. Besides, the more subtle our pride, the longer it will take to even realize it’s there. Pride, comes before a fall, and as Derek Prince says ‘faith and pride are incompatible.’

No, wonder when I’m behind the wheel, and living more so on my dime, waking up without reading the Word of God, going throughout my day without a foundation of prayer, that I eventually begin to feel lost. Sadly, the reason why I wouldn’t do those things is because I don’t prioritize them into my life, like one man of God once told me “we have to have a regiment.” Instead I do the opposite, I live according to my own whims and enjoy, and want, and consume, but “not do anything bad…” then I find myself at the stop light, waiting, wondering, frustrated.

I recently read a scripture that indicated the fact that, omitting a sin from our lives is not enough when it comes to repentance and change, we also need to include doing something right into our lives.

Humility is the only active way to state to God that we cannot do it on our own, and that we need Him.

The Bible says:

“God resists the proud, ​but gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6

There’s always an initial assumption when we read any scripture, and there’s always a very practical understanding on the flip side.

When I read the above verse from James 4:6 it makes me realize why God gives grace to the humble; how can He direct a person that’s leading themselves? It would be an attempt at helping someone who’d be actively resisting His guidance. Humility is so practical, and putting ourselves in that state of lowliness is the most beneficial.

When we humble ourselves, we soon sense His grace, and when we feel His presence once again in our lives the light turns green and we can move forward with confidence knowing that He is with us.

 

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Failure Has Options

Written By: AnnMarie Alva

Sometimes, we fail. We miss the mark. We don’t stack up to the odds. In those times, it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes, we can be so steeped in our mistakes that we give up all together; we cry out to God, or tragically, we hide from Him. We even allow who the Bible calls “the accuser,” to whisper condemnation in our ears until we are so burdened by guilt that we remain in a state of shame.

Failure can take many forms, but all can leave us in despair. Sin has that same effect.

There are different modes of sin. When we sin out of ignorance, the Holy Spirit is quick to correct us with conviction, the feeling like you did something wrong. When we sin knowingly, guilt and the Lord’s rebuke often come next. And then, there’s outright rebellion; sinning with the attitude of spite toward anything Godly, which can get us blotted out of the book of life. And, while we don’t desire to take for granted the grace of God, in our weaknesses and failures He is merciful:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”

1 John 1:19

Confessing our sins or failures to God is the act of taking responsibility. It is the recognition that we fall short. That we are in need of correction and thus guidance.

Confessing our sins to God is the act of giving up our pride and admitting we were wrong. That leads to repentance, and repentance is the way we turn away from that sin toward God.

Failure, thus becomes an opportunity for you to give God a foothold in your life.

Just recently, the Lord taught me the benefit of failure. Benefit? How can failure be a good thing? Well, the short answer is, the practice of perseverance.

but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance” (Romans 5:3)

In the above scripture, we see that even when we go through tough times or fail, we can be blessed with the chance to persevere. If we never go through the fire, then how can we be refined into gold? How can we learn to endure? God doesn’t take shortcuts when it comes to our personal growth.

Have you ever asked God for patience and then all of a sudden it seems like the whole world slows down just to get on your nerves? That is God answering your prayer, you’re not gonna just magically be more patient. You have to learn and practice your patience. In the same manner, God will allow difficulties into your life so that you can have the opportunity to grow through them.

The great thing about failure is that it teaches us to not give up! If we are quick to call it quits when troubles arise, we will never withstand the mounting pressures of sin and evil that run rampant around us.

There is something deeper lurking, ready to defeat us before we reach our victory. If it wins, we will only ever know failure. But if you push through, stand up and dust your boots off, you get to know growth, and God’s mercy.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)

Motivated By His Goodness

Written By: AnnMarie Alva

When thinking about the character of God, it’s easy to marvel at our Creator. When I think of His mercy and goodness, His wisdom, His loving kindness, His sheer magnitude and much, much more, it’s very humbling to think that we are the apple of His eye. We always rest in the fact that He has our best interest at heart; that His faithfulness to us is unending. Rightly so, can you think of anyone more deserving of our best efforts?

When was the last time you sat down and thought about how much of yourself, of your effort, are you giving to God in return?

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”

(2 Corinthians 9:6)

There is a principle in scripture that states what measure you use will be measured unto you, you reap what you sow, and so forth. How can we short change God? In reality, we only short change ourselves. Regardless of our own faithfulness to God, He is more faithful than what we deserve and He always keeps His end of the bargain. Isn’t our God worth all we have to offer?

In Luke 21:1-4, we see that Jesus honors a poor widow who gave only two mites, but yet it was all that she had, instead of the lofty gifts from those with riches. They gave only a portion when God wants you to trust Him with everything. The principle is not about money or tithe, it’s about giving God your best.

The Parable of the Talents was a lesson taught by Jesus about servants who were given responsibility over money according to their ability, while their master was away. One was given five, another two and the last was given one. The good servants doubled their portions, while the last buried what was given to him in fear it might be stolen.

“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant…'”

(Matthew 25:26)

The theme I want to shed light on today is that the “wicked and lazy servant”, did not do the best he could have with what he received. He took for granted the master’s gift and trust, because of fear.

Take a minute, to take an inventory, of all the gifts that God has given you? For me, it’s salvation, mercy, patience, love, forgiveness, peace, provision, refuge, wisdom, my children, my husband, my health, and the list goes on…

When commissioned by the Lord for service, do you drag your feet and do the bare minimum? Are you being cheap in the Name of the Lord? Are you being a wicked and lazy servant? He has given us grace and eternity in heaven. Should we squander it and be cast to the outer darkness? I promise, I’m not trying to scare you, but these are important questions to consider.

The flip side is to double what He has given you. Just like in the parable, their master only gave them according to their ability, God will do the same. Do as much as you are able. Pass on His mercies, love, grace. The Gospel! And when you put your hand to a task in God’s name, do your best! He is worth your best. Be faithful and He will match it! He will surprise you beyond your expectations.

In the parable of the talents, the master praised his dutiful servants:

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”

(Matthew 25:23)

 

 

Faith in The Face of Fear

Written By: AnnMarie Alva

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

How many times, as a Christian, do we seek God for guidance? Hopefully, it’s daily. But there are those times when we absolutely need a break through. We labor in prayer for any sign that God is out there, listening and dispatching His aid.

How often is it that we receive an answer, but don’t understand it or can’t see how it will come to pass? We tend to allow doubt and fear to latch on, causing us to make our own decisions and often, mistakes. Or, we take that leap of faith and when complications arise, we worry that God has abandoned us.

The Lord asks, “Have I not commanded you?…” (Joshua 1:9).

Here, we see that the Lord is taking the position of authority and thus takes responsibility when we submit to His will.

The passage continues…

“… Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed…”

God knows, in His infinite wisdom, the inner workings of the human condition; that fear is our natural response to the unknown. Yet, when God takes control of a situation it is our duty to relinquish that control and the outcome to Him alone. For many, myself included, that is a very scary thing… at first.

He reminds us that we needn’t allow our own fears to get in the way of what He has planned. And at the end of the verse, He lovingly assures us:

“…for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

If we listen to God’s commands and hold fast to His will, He is faithful to bring us through.

The faithfulness of God is vast, complex, and unrelenting; it’s almost self defeating to ever doubt it. When God is in control, regardless of your own understanding, He will carry you through until fruition. Fear, though our immediate reaction, is not a place for us to stay and operate from. It is our cue to cling to God and take Him at His word. For our God is faithful and is with you, wherever you go.

On The Right Track

“He who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.” 

1 Corinthians 2:15

There’s so much to be said about this verse, but I will make one brief point.

If you:

  • Have a consistent devotion to Christ and His Word
  • Find yourself to not fit in with many other Christians
  • Seem to be misunderstood by them or unable to relate
  • But are sticking to the scriptures, not wavering from the text
  • And wondering why?

Then according to the above verse you’re on the right track!

It’s an amazing thing to realize that not all Christians are “spiritual.” Therefore, by default not all Christians are going to understand you or even like you. I used to think it was me, until I realized it was an answer to prayer.

You will be misjudged by others, but hold your ground because:

“The first will be last, and the last will be first”  (Matthew 20:16)

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”   (Colossians 3:3)

Just some food for thought. God bless!